Guest Post with Sands Hetherington: How Kids Inspire Us as Writers

I am an old man and live on the edge of town with my two Saint Bernards Dudley and Maggie. Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Sacre is my first children’s book and another is coming out in the fall. And now let me cut to the chase and tell you how Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare came about.

I raised my son John as a single parent from the time he was six. I can't remember exactly: Maybe one night John wanted more story and I was tired of reading and suggested he invent a buddy to go off to sleep with. Or maybe he did it spontaneously. He was six, I think. Anyway, before I knew it, John came up with this red crocodile named Crosley. I was duly charmed, and we started batting Crosley ideas around at night and making up episodes. Crosley got to be a real member of the family. 

In many ways the thing was ready-made for me, but I did need to figure out why on earth Crosley was red. I couldn't just dump something like that into a story without explaining. (I was determined not to leave the red part out; this was Crosley's trademark feature!)

It finally occurred to me: Crosley was red because he was allergic to water! In a roundabout way, that is. If he got any water on him, he broke out doing the Black Bottom dance and had to go on for hours and hours. Unless he took his antidote pills. These stopped the Black Bottom well enough but did have a side-effect, and you surely know what this was: they turned him red! This was fine with Crosley, though: "Not that I mind that part a bit. Cause when people see me now, they know not t' get me wet."

I give John most of the credit. He invented Crosley the red crocodile and all I did was figure out why he was red and drop the two new Night Buddies into a situation. I like to think of John as the writer and myself as the editor and rewrite man. John is thirty-two now and Crosley is obviously still a member of the family.

The second book in the series (the one coming out this fall) is called Night Buddies, Imposters, and One Far-Out Flying Machine. It features John and Crosley, is much longer, and introduces a bunch of new characters. My favorite part is the fantastic flying machine that I really can't talk about here. I hope you'll check it out, though, and thanks again for inviting me in.

Sands Hetherington

About the Book:
Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare is the first in a series featuring John, a young city kid who isn't ready for bed yet, and Crosley, a bright-red crocodile who shows up in his room to rescue him and take him on an adventure.

Night Buddies is an astonishing and inventive adventure with unforgettable cast of characters that will make you laugh and win over your heart. The book has lots of thoughtful, multi-layered twists, giggles, and perils -- things kids can relate to and enjoy. 

Publisher: Dune Buggy Press; One edition (June 1, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0984741712
ISBN-13: 978-0984741717

Get a sneak peek of the book at

About the Author: 
Sands Hetherington credits his son John for being his principal motivator. Sands raised his son as a single parent from the time John was six. He read to him every night during those formative years. He and young John developed the Crosley crocodile character in the series during months of bedtime story give-and-take. Sands majored in history at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) and has an M.F.A. in creative writing and an M.A. in English from UNC-Greensboro. He lives in Greensboro.

The World of Ink Network will be touring author Sands Hetherington’s nighttime adventure for kids, Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare published by Dune Buggy Press all through July and August 2012.

You can find out more about Sands Hetherington’s World of Ink Author/Book Tour at

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Margaret Fieland said...

It sounds like a fun book. Love the picture of Crosley on your book cover.

Unknown said...

What a delightful concept, Sands. Yes, kids can be very inspiring!

VS Grenier said...

I've been reading this book, a chapter a night, with my girls. They totally love it and have even asked when their Night Buddy might show up for an adventure. My oldest daughter this morning told me she thought she saw a red leg sticking out from under her bed last night. I just love seeing their imaginations taking off as we read each night.

Karen Cioffi said...

This certainly sounds like a fun read for kids. And, I agree, kids are inspiring!

Donna McDine said...

Kids are truly inspiring. I find it enjoyable to watch them without them realizing it (i.e., when the are with their friends). Wishing you all the best and good luck with promotion and creation of your next manuscript!

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